5 things to watch out for at Alabama football's A-Day spring game

James Fletcher
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football’s A-Day Game scrimmage has arrived, marking the end of spring practice.

The scrimmage will begin at noon Saturday. It will be televised on ESPN.

After two closed scrimmages and weeks of practice, coach Nick Saban is prepared to showcase a new-look staff and overhauled offense in front of a 50-percent capacity Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Here are five things to watch:

The quarterbacks

With Mac Jones headed to the NFL Draft, Alabama needs a new quarterback.

Former five-star recruit Bryce Young is the frontrunner to take the starting job after serving limited time as the backup in 2020.

Young finished 13-of-22 for 156 yards and a touchdown last season.

"Bryce is the quarterback for right now," said Saban. "He's going to operate the first team."

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Another thing to watch from the quarterbacks will be balance of snaps given to Paul Tyson and Jalen Milroe.

The offensive line

The offensive line is in flux with departures and injuries it has dealt with this spring.

With five freshmen coming in this season, the offensive line might have the most uncertainty of any position group.

Look for a mix of veteran leadership and young talent on display.

The wide receivers

Replacing the production of DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle will not be easy, but last year was no easier without Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy.

Alabama returns John Metchie III, who saw significant time last season, and sophomore Javon Baker.

“This is a game where a lot of the young guys will get a chance to play,” said Saban.

Freshmen Ja’Corey Brooks, Agiye Hall and Christian Leary are among the others who will look to make an impact.

The defense

Will Anderson Jr. and Christopher Allen return for another year on the edge for Alabama, making the pass rush one of the team’s biggest strengths.

Alabama returns an experienced group, including redshirt seniors Phidarian Mathis and LaBryan Ray on the defensive line.

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Freshman cornerback Ga’Quincy “Koolaid” McKinstry headlines the group of young players making their debut in front of fans.

The new coaches

Saban’s ability to flip a staff has been put to the test this offseason.

After hiring former Texans head coach Bill O’Brien to replace Steve Sarkisian at offensive coordinator, Saban brought in former Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone to coach the offensive line.

Alabama faced a set of unique circumstances when special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Jay Graham resigned to address mental health issues, leading to the hire of Drew Svoboda.

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Other additions to the staff include running back coach Robert Gillespie and cornerback coach Jay Valai.